News / Africa

EU Pledges Funds to Combat Cocaine Smuggling in West Africa

More than $20 million pledged to combat trafficking of Latin American cocaine bound for Europe

The European Union is funding new efforts to combat Latin American cocaine trafficking in West Africa.

More than $20 million in European Union financing is uniting Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau to combat the trafficking of Latin American cocaine bound for Europe.

The EU's new "Dakar Initiative" is meant to fund interdiction measures announced two years ago.

Last November, a Boeing 727 from Venezuela landed in the desert of northern Mali with a shipment of cocaine.  Drug enforcement officials say shipments are then broken up into smaller packages for smugglers to carry north across the Sahara through some areas controlled by an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group that is active in Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.

Other cocaine shipments from Latin America arrive on West Africa's coast where they are smuggled to Europe by sea.  Nowhere is that destabilizing influence more pronounced than in Guinea Bissau where drug gangs use dirt airstrips on offshore islands.

Mahamane Toure directs political affairs for the regional Economic Community of West African States.

"The police, the justice system, and the prison system with the threat of the drugs have been almost reduced to nil [nothing].  They do not have any capacity.  They need to be building capacity to have vehicles, telecommunications systems, to organize training to be able at least to tackle the issue of the drug barons who are roaming everywhere in the region now," Toure said.

As law enforcement officials pay closer attention to smuggling routes, some drug gangs are working to increase production inside West Africa.

Sa'id Djinnit heads the U.N. office for West Africa:

"Drug trafficking is still going on.  And there are indications that now they are trying to establish themselves in the region to produce drugs in the sub-region.  And also to encourage the consumption of the cheapest kinds of drugs in the sub-region," Djinnit said.

Law enforcement officials in Guinea last year uncovered seven storage sites for chemicals that could be used to refine narcotics.  If those products were used to make the drug ecstasy, the United Nations says its market value would be more than $180 million.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid